Lincoln and Greek Funeral Orations

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by HolleighArledge
Last updated 4 years ago

Social Studies
Politicians and Presidents

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Lincoln and Greek Funeral Orations

Lincoln and Greek Funeral Orations

Lincoln refrained from using particulars and proper names in the Gettysburg Address. For example, he states that they are on the "great battlefield of that war," which not only references their current location but the entire country experiencing war at that time. He leaves a lot of assumption up to the viewer as to what he means by this. He generalizes the people who fought as "the brave men, living and dead," which lacks a personal relationship to those that have given their lives for the cause and comes across as a very general idea.Wills states on page 53, "restraint deepens passion by refusing to give it easy vent." This relates to Lincoln's lack of specifics as well as the tradition of Greek funeral orations by claiming it can create greater significance by not referencing specific people but the entire group or event.

In ancient Greece, it was customary for long speeches to be given at all funerals. These lengthy funeral orations were given in order to honor the dead's legacy left behind and highlight their bravery or accomplishments. These funeral orations were considered an indispensable part of anyone's funeral in Athens and were given great importance.

Epitaphios is "an oration that ignores individuals." Historically, greek funeral orations have followed this, and Lincoln used this in his Address. The use of "we" unifies the viewers and orators and the lack of relationship to individuals takes away focus from specific people and puts it on events or the overall group.

Funeral Orations


Lincoln's Speech


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